80 per cent of the fleet reach the forts. Reports from Azzura of Bristol and Xara of Hamble

At 1500 the Island SC reported that approximately 80 per cent of the fleet had reached the forts, with 176 boats having finished already. I talked to IRC Group 1 boatsAzzurra of Bristol, a First 47.7, andXara of Hamble, an one-off 53-footer.

Chris Gill, on boardAzzurra, commented that although he felt they had had a good race, he was a little disappointed about their performance on the water.Azzurawas crewed by a selection of paying guests from Chris’ charter company ‘Yacht Ventures’, and had a personal derby with another company First 47.7 from their Plymouth base,Tshotsholoza. BeatingTshotshoover the water by 3 minutes, their differing handicaps annihilated their lead, leavingAzzurratrailing by 5 places. Chris highlighted two elements of the race: the first a fantastic spinnaker run from St. Catherine’s all the way to the finish line, and the second the unusually busy finish. The favourable conditions seem to have brought a lot of the fleet together at the finish line, resulting in a lot of last-minute jousting for the lead positions.

Peter Hunt, skipper ofXara of Hamble, entered the race aiming to set a record for the fastest washing machine around the island, something he feels he has achieved. A carbon fibre/kevlar hulled 53-footer,Xarais a fully equipped cruising boat with a slightly chequered Round-the-Island history. This year however, Peter commented that the wind angle combined with their asymmetric spinnaker to give them a real advantage, kiting three-quarters of the course. After a slow start,Xarafound clean air down to the Needles and, apart from one very sick crew member, has had an outstanding race.

Visit yachtingmonthly.com on Monday for a round-up of the race, including definitive results for our featured eight boats.

Pictured is Jeremy Rogers’ Contessa 26Rosina of Beaulieu, twice winner of the Roman Bowl.

For more information on the boats included in this article, click here